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The Battle Hymn of the Republic of Letters >

[Comments] (1) : Kevan gave me a book of Groucho Marx-related letters, called appropriately enough The Groucho Letters. I'd flipped through the book at Jake Berendes's house but now I'm reading it through, and I was intrigued by his 1957 description of a Mystery Science Theater-esque show he was writing and co-starring in:

The format is a simple one. Jane and I sit in front of a television set at home watching a television show. The show we watch is usually a sports reel, a travelogue, or a whatnot, and we make up funny jokes to say while looking at it...

It will be a new kind of writing for me. We have to write jokes to fit the footage of the film shots. Like I need a forty-foot joke to describe what the man is doing when he examines the sheep's wool in Australia, so I say to Jane: "See, they examine the wool to determine if it's ready for shearing." And she takes the rest of the 40 feet to tell the joke. Which in this case turns out to be: "Oh yeh--they want to make sure it's a hundred percent wool."

Hilarious, isn't it? And after writing 40-foot jokes, 75-foot jokes, and even 108-foot jokes, we have a nine and a half inch [Nielsen] rating, and all is well.

IMDB doesn't know about this television program and it's not clear who "Jane" is, though picking up context throughout the book indicates that it's Jane Ace, Goodman Ace's wife.

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Posted by Kris Straub at Thu Nov 06 2008 22:01

I have this book and I really enjoy it again and again.


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